Sunday, March 01, 2009

Here's a Foolish Question

What part of the text of our famous Dead Constitution is it that explicitly authorizes the feds to decide whether health care providers may be allowed to decline to commit particular acts?
The Obama administration plans to reverse a regulation from late in the Bush administration allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections, an official said Friday.

The Provider Refusal Rule was proposed by the Bush White House in August and enacted on January 20, the day President Barack Obama took office.

It expanded on a 30-year-old law establishing a "conscience clause" for "health-care professionals who don't want to perform abortions."

Under the rule, workers in health-care settings -- from doctors to janitors -- can refuse to provide services, information or advice to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling if they are morally against it.
Again, we can see that as we look to DC to solve all problems, protect us from the whole world, and tell us what to do in our every waking moment, it (supposedly) becomes ever more and more vital: who holds the godlike power? Who can hurl the heavenly thunderbolts? In the world of everything-not-compulsory-is-forbidden, I guess the identity of the Compeller-Forbidder really is the most important possible question.

Sheep, the lot of us.

8 comments:

akaGaGa said...

But angry sheep, my friend.

Thanks for the heads-up on this one. I had my granddaughter all weekend and missed it.

Jim Wetzel said...

You had your granddaughter all weekend ... I'm very happy for you, my sister. And I'm firmly rebuking my jealously of all those who have granddaughters. Or grandsons. Or both. Nope, I'm not jealous. Not jealous at all.

And if I keep saying that long enough, I may even start to believe it!

John Van Naarden said...

Gov't involvement or not...it would seem to me that, if people have moral objections to performing a part of their job, perhaps they are in the wrong profession.

There is nothing stopping those people from choosing not to work at such an establishment that may require them to cross a personal moral boundary. They are not bound to their profession or indentured to their employer but free to work anywhere they choose in whatever profession they find themselves able to manage.

If performing a task is part of their job, they should shut their mouths and do the task...or find other work that consists of duties they are capable of performing.

akaGaGa said...

Grandchildren, without doubt, are an exhausting delight. Not knowing your circumstance, however, or the circumstance of your children, I will refrain from praying this blessing for you. :)

The problem, John, is not that people are in the wrong profession. It's that the government is redefining the profession. Until very recently, the Hippocratic Oath, which served as the ethical foundation of "good medical practice and morals" since around 370 BC, contained the following:

"I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion."

Hippocrates himself would refuse to be a doctor in our country today.

Jim Wetzel said...

The government involvement was the point I was trying to get at. Obviously, if I'm running an abortion mill, I don't employ those who won't do that deed. In the same way, if I'm running a Mafia crime family, I don't employ "soldiers" who cavil at doing contract killings, either. Where is the government's excuse for getting involved, unless the government is the employer? (And hang on -- that's coming, I expect.) Is it to ensure the wide availability of abortions? If a woman wants her baby killed, and Dr. Jones won't do it, she can always go down the street to Dr. Mengele, who will, right? And if (as I greatly doubt) it turns out that hardly any doctors will freely do abortions, so that availability is a real problem, well ... doesn't that tell us something, too?

In any case, the point I'm after here is that the Great Irrelevant Constitution doesn't authorize the federalistas to either "grant" or withhold the right to decline to do something morally questionable, just as it doesn't authorize practically any of the myriad activities of our supervisors ... thus underlining the extremely dead condition of said constitution.

Jim Wetzel said...

Jean, you're right -- neither of my offspring is married, so they certainly do need to hold off the necessary activity, and I speak with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Still, the grandbaby itch does get pretty intense sometimes.

A month or two ago, my wife was indisposed one Sunday morning, and I went to church by myself. It was my week to run the sound board. A young mom (who's the same age as my son) got up with her four-month-old, who was getting restless, and came back my way, and -- long story short -- I was able to temporarily kidnap the boy, who got a fistful of my beard and promptly fell asleep on my shoulder. When mom came around again to claim him, I told her my plan: I figured the kid was at that age where they "spit up" easily. So I thought maybe I'd talk him into barfing on my shirt, and then I'd go home and let my wife smell it, just to make her insane with jealousy. But it didn't work out that way. Next time, maybe.

John Van Naarden said...

I think the purpose of the original law was to prohibit discrimination of healthcare providers based on their ethical views. Bush's addendum merely hitched some financial treats to those that complied (another example of his wonderful tendency to tie his moral beliefs to gov't $$)

I agree that the government should not be involved, but I don't think they should have been involved in the first place. It would seem that any repealing to lesser involvement would seem like a better thing, no?

With regard to doctors in their own private practice, they should surely be free to choose what types of service they provide. I also think an employer should have the right to fire an employee, if they cannot do their job.

Jim Wetzel said...

I think we're substantially in agreement. Those who want to sell service "X" shouldn't be compelled by the government to employ, or continue to employ, those who aren't willing to provide it; neither should there be any government compulsion of any licensed professional to provide service "X."